ODU Crime Review: October 2021



An Old Dominion University Police vehicle. Photo by Nicholas Clark

By Victoria Tillinghast, News Editor

Originally published November 3, 2021.


October was a busy month on campus. Between homecoming, midterms, and virtually every class going into full swing, the month crept up on students and went by as quickly as the weather changes here in Norfolk. Along with the highs and lows in class, crime around campus displayed an interesting turn of events in review.


A good amount of the most commonly occurring crimes committed during the first month of the fall semester have displayed a decrease in frequency, according to the ODU Daily Crime & Fire Safety Log, such as intimidation and threats, robberies, stalking and weapons violations. Even bicycle larcenies are down, having only 13 occurring this month compared to the 22 in September.


Though good news, there are unfortunately more chilling occurrences to reflect on this month. To the shock and dismay of many ODU students, October brought the unfortunate news of homicide around campus. On Oct. 1, around 9 p.m., 20-year-old Dominque J. Brooks fell victim to gun violence at The Next, a student housing property.

Graphic by Victoria Tillinghast

With the month off to a tragic start, other distressing occurrences would unfold throughout. Sexual assault and dating violence have seen an increase in frequency on campus. As well as underage drinking reports increasing throughout the month. While ODU does provide the student body with a list of phone numbers as resources available for handling substance abuse, the university has unfortunately overlooked many factors related to this problem.


October also saw an increase in DUI’s occurring on campus. In a post drafted by John D. Clapp of Ohio State University on the subject of student DUI’s, he pointed out that while almost all research articles or grant proposals he comes across state in some context or the other that, “each year approximately an estimated 1,800 college students die as a result of alcohol use (Hingson et al., 2007)”, very few address that an overwhelming amount of these deaths are related to driving under the influence of alcohol.


Clapp’s point rings true when the Health Risks of Alcohol & Other Drugs document released on Oct. 14 via email to the student body was examined. While the document explains that 1,519 college-age students die from alcohol-related injuries, more than 696,00 students are assaulted by students under the influence of alcohol, 97,000 students become victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape, and more than 150,000 students develop alcohol-related health problems leading 1.2 to 1.5 percent of students to suicide attempts, nothing is documented or released about injuries relating to driving under the influence.


More so, while the university provides transportation services to the student body through the SafeRide app and fixed-route shuttle services, neither of these programs are effectively advertised as safety solutions to college-aged drinking and driving either on their webpage or in the Alcohol & Drug Policy notification email to students as a resource. This is despite the Alcohol & Drug Policy email explicitly stating that:


“The U.S. Department of Education’s Drug Free Schools and Communities Act requires that as a condition of receiving any form of financial assistance under any Federal program, an institution of higher education must adopt and implement a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use, manufacture or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees.”


In ODU’s own words, the only “prevention” services that they provide as a resource are counseling services to those with existing issues with drug and alcohol problems, available to all students on a scheduled appointment basis. Likewise, this is the only “prevention” to the other plethora of alcohol-related injuries and offenses, such as sexual assault and rape, commonly occurring amongst college-aged students. While ODU does a fine job at providing support services after the offense, prevention is a casually thrown-around vocable here on campus.